Ecological Conservation and Energy Transition The secret behind Referendum of Algal Reef

The highly-discussed referendum on “Rescue of Algae Reefs” has reached about 700,000 countersigns, which far exceeds the original countersignature threshold of 290,000 copies. Therefore, the Central Election Committee announced that it would hold a referendum on August 28, 2021. However, before voting, let us first understand the content of this dispute.

Algae reef close-up. / Picture source: 珍愛桃園藻礁

What is Algae?

Algae reefs, as the name implies, are reefs made of algae. Unfortunately, the growth rate of algae reefs is slow, and it only grows one centimeter in an average of ten years and it is also suitable for a large number of intertidal animals to live in. Therefore, large areas of algae reefs are very precious environmental ecology. The algae reef in Taoyuan stretches 27 kilometers and is the largest and most complete reef in Taiwan. According to research and investigation, it has 7000 years and has a high degree of biodiversity. Therefore, it is an area actively guarded by the environmental protection group.

Natural gas ship transports natural gas to natural gas receiving station

What is the Third Receiving Station?

The third receiving station is the third natural gas ship receiving station in Taiwan. After the natural gas ship transports natural gas from abroad to the receiving station, the receiving station is responsible for processing and storage. Then, it is transported by pipeline to the power plant for power generation. However, the third natural gas receiving station’s planned location is located in the algal reef area of Datan, Taoyuan, which has caused strong resistance from environmental protection groups.

Taiwan currently focuses on thermal power generation.

Taiwan’s energy transition

To realize the “2025 Non-Nuclear Homeland” policy, the government is actively promoting energy transformation. It is expected to reduce polluting coal-fired power generation and use less polluting natural gas to supplement the power generation. Therefore, it plans to establish a natural gas reception in Taoyuan Datan station. Not only is the location close to the Da Tam Power Plant, but it can also reduce the cost of power transmission from the south to the north.

Polluted algae reef. / Picture source: 珍愛桃園藻礁

Energy Transition VS Ecological Conservation

A referendum will be held on August 28. The title is “Do you agree that the third natural gas receiving station of CNPC will move away from the coast and waters of Taoyuan’s Datan Algae Reef? (North to the Guanyin River estuary, south to the Xinwu River estuary, and the above-mentioned area where the lowest tide line extends parallel to the outside for five kilometers).” Taiwan’s energy transition is inevitable. Only by replacing traditional coal-fired power generation with natural gas and other green renewable energy can real energy sustainable development be achieved. Especially after the two major blackouts in May, energy issues have attracted much attention. Still, at the same time, we need to think about whether we need to sacrifice the historical, cultural significance, and unique ecological landscape of Taiwan simultaneously as the energy transition. ? How to choose from energy development and ecological conservation? It is up to the public to decide when the referendum takes place on August 28.